These socks helped me PR a marathon

When I first started running, I used what I had for equipment: old, tattered Reebox and cheap cotton socks.

As my mileage increased and I set my sights on my first marathon, I bought a pair of running shoes and running socks from Swiftwick.

Swiftwick were my first official pair of socks for running, so I was excited when they sent me a couple of their new styles to try.

Swiftwick socks across all their various styles, have several key features.

They include a lightweight upper to increase breathability and to keep your feet cool and comfortable. Their toe box and arch support is built so that the sock doesn’t move on you.

Swiftwick Trail-Running Socks
Swiftwick Trail-Running Socks

Swiftwick VIBE™

The Swiftwick VIBE™ is a medium cushion, compression sock built for trail running.

The compression feature supports the muscles in your foot, which is perfect for the trail. As you’re running on uneven terrain, you need something that will support you every step of the way.

I test a “no show” size and the height fit comfortably on my foot. I didn’t experience any rubbing between the sock or my shoe on my ankle bone.

The Swiftwick VIB Zero is perfect for runs is warmer temperatures.

It should also be noted that the Swiftwick VIBE comes in a two heights, including the Zero (no show) and One (ankle length)

Swiftwick PURSUIT™

Now that it’s getting colder, the PURSUIT™ has become my new favorite trail running sock.

Similar to the VIBE, the PURSUIT comes in several sizes, ranging from no show to calf-length. The ones I tried were the PURSUIT Four, which came up to the middle of my calves.

The PURSUIT is constructed with Merino wool and has a reinforced heel and toe for maximum durability. Merino is nature’s technical fiber. It absorbs moisture without feeling soggy and regulates temperature.

“Oh, but wool,” you think. “Isn’t it itchy?”

Not with Swiftwick. It was made with a Merino wool that produces a soft, no-itch feel throughout.

PR’ing my Trail Marathon Time

With gear reviews, we like to put in the miles.

With Swiftwick, I wanted to see if I could beat my trail marathon time.

During my last ultra, one of the challenges I had was blisters on the bottom of my foot from my socks moving that slowed me down on the final 10 miles. I had to stop, pop, drain, and apply bandaids.

But with Swiftwick, on some fairly technical terrain, I didn’t have the same problem.

These socks rock!

Showers Pass Launches “Enjoy All Elements” Challenge

Our friends at Showers Pass launched today the “Enjoy All Elements” program, challenging its customers to spend 175 million hours in inclement weather by 2031. The campaign is centered around removing the obstacles that stand in the way of enjoying outdoor activities in rain, wind, sun, and cold. Challengers can share and record their hours playing in the elements on social media using the #EnjoyAllElements tag, or by utilizing the challenge hub at enjoyallelements.com. For each hour logged, Showers Pass will increase its contribution to Outdoors Empowered Network, a national network of community-led, youth-centered outdoor education groups that are dedicated to increasing access and diversity in the outdoors through gear libraries and outdoor leadership training.

Enjoy All Elements Challenge
Enjoy All Elements Challenge

Showers Pass has always been about making cycling and outdoor activity enjoyable in any weather,” says Sarah Jean Charniak, Marketing Director at Showers Pass. “This new commitment continues in that tradition, by challenging people to get out more, while at the same time helping to remove barriers to get outside. We’re excited to see how the monetary and in-kind support raised will improve outdoor access for many communities.” Outdoors Empowered Network supports more than twenty gear libraries throughout the United States, reducing one of the biggest barriers to entry for hundreds of thousands of young people that want to engage in outdoor adventuring. “More time outside means healthier, happier humans and a deeper connection to nature,” says Charniak, “and that’s ultimately what we’re trying to achieve.”

“We are really excited to be partnering with Showers Pass. We love that they understand that gear needs to be accessible for young people to enjoy all the elements outdoors and that they are putting this into action by supporting both OEN and our member organizations,” says Seraph White Executive Director of the Outdoors Empowered Network.

For more details on the Enjoy All Elements Challenge, Showers Pass, and the Outdoors Empowered Network visit: www.showerspass.com & www.outdoorsempowered.org. And be sure to check out our reviews of Showers Pass products that can help you enjoy the outdoors in all conditions.


About Showers Pass 

Based in Portland, Oregon Showers Pass is made up of a select team of outdoor enthusiasts who bike, run, hike, climb and play in the outdoors.  In 1997 Showers Pass was born from the desire to develop clothing and gear that would get people out on their bikes no matter the weather.  Our reputation is built on the use of high-performance materials in combination with innovative functional design. Originally specializing in waterproof-breathable outerwear, Showers Pass now offers industry-leading baselayers, active apparel, waterproof socks, and waterproof bags. Our products are used by cyclists, mountaineers, runners, cross-country skiers, mountain bikers, firefighters, endurance athletes, and others who demand high performance and reliability from their gear.  Reducing our impact on the environment while making high-quality long-lasting products is part of our mission.

Sport Nutrition Can Be Gnarly

Gnarly is a funny word.

It can mean something good or bad, but also used to describe something challenging.

Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate and BCAAs
Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate and BCAAs

When Gnarly Nutrition sent me samples of their product to try, it landed on my doorstep at a challenging time. I just gotten back from my first physical in many years and learned that I had topped the scales at an all-time high. Based on the BMI chart, I was now “overweight.”

Fitness has always been a priority for me, but as life changed, so has my fitness priorities. The COVID-19 presented challenges around my fitness and I fell out of my normal routines, including running (something I have been devoutly fanatical about for 13 years).

The balance between home learning, work, and making time for my wife to have to herself put a lot of my fitness to the side.

And now I showed the evidence of that. Since my first child was born 10 years ago, I had put on 47 pounds. Since COVID, I had put on 20 pounds.

It was a lot and I knew I had to do something different. Something challenging. Something… gnarly.

When these samples arrived, I decided that it was time to kick my own ass.

I started a high-intensity-impact-training program, increased my frequency and mileage running, and started flipping a tractor tire in my garage. Along with that, I started intermittent fasting for 16-18 hours a day and cold showers in the morning to activate my brown fat cells.

These supplements from Gnarly Nutrition have been a welcome addition.

Gnarly Hydrate

Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate
Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate

Thirty-minutes prior to a workout, I’ll down a serving of Gnarly Hydrate.

Typically, I’m working out in the late afternoon and the B-Vitamins are a nice energizing pick-me-up to motivate me out of my office and into my workout space.

Each serving is super-packed with electrolytes to help aid performance and stave off muscle cramps and burnout. 250 mg of sodium, 100 mg of potassium, 90 mg of magnesium, 125 mg of calcium, and 135 mg of chloride.

What I appreciate about this product is that it doesn’t have caffeine. Since I’m working out in the afternoon, I don’t need extra caffeine in my system.

Additionally, this product mixes really well. There’s another brand (that shan’t be named) that I’ve used that is always clumpy and feels heavy in the gut. Gnarly Hydrate mixes well enough that I’ve replaced the Nuun tablets in my Hydropak.

Gnarly BCAAs

Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs
Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs

I’ve never used BCAAs as part of my recovery. If you don’t know, BCAAs stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids.

You have 20 different amino acids in your body and three of those (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are branched chain amino acids.

By supplementing BCAAs, you’re helping your body build back better (sorry, Biden). BCAAs can help with muscle growth, decrease muscle soreness, reduce fatigue, and prevent muscle wasting.

When I’ve gotten on these ass-kicking routines, my ass has gotten kicked and I have fallen off the wagon quickly.

But since supplementing Gnarly BCAAs I’ve found significant improvement in my recovery time.

I’ve been able to hit the same level of intensity the next day after an intense workout.

I’m a week into my journey and I’ve already dropped a couple pounds, which I’ll take as a victory.

Gnarly BCAAs has several flavors to choose from including caffeinated and decaf options. I’m using the caffeinated version, but with only 35 mg of caffeine per serving, it hasn’t negatively impacted my sleep routine.

Gnarly Vegan Protein

Gnarly Nutrition Vegan Protein
Gnarly Nutrition Vegan Protein

Finding the right vegan protein has been hit or miss. Especially when it comes to how well it mixes. There are many out there that are grainy and clumpy.

Thankfully, Gnarly Vegan Protein is one of the best I’ve had. Their protein is a blend of pea protein isolate, cranberry seed protein and chia seed protein.

Since using it, I also haven’t had the gut issues I’ve had before with other proteins. I think it’s in part due to their forms of protein, but the fiber content (7 grams per serving), and the pre and probiotics to support digestion and gut health.

Gnarly Vegan Protein is intended to also be a meal replacement.

When I’ve been breaking my fast, I’ve turned to their vegan protein versus running to the local sandwich or fast food shop. Each serving, when combined with water, is only 200 calories.

Out of the two flavors I samples (vanilla and chocolate), chocolate was my favorite.

Bottom Line

As I’ve gone on this journey of better health and fitness, I couldn’t be more happy to have Gnarly Nutrition in my corner. It’s definitely been a bit gnarly. But gnarly is a good way.

My hope is that I’ll be able to get to a point where I’m able to do ultras again and have Gnarly on all my training runs.

It’s worth noting that Gnarly Nutrition products are NSF certified and the three products above are all soy free, gluten free, and vegan.

Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket Review

As the days are getting cooler, finding the right insulated jacket for your next outdoor adventure is key.

Jack Wolfskin sent us their new JWP Atmos Jacket to try out and we’ve had a blast on and off the trails with it.

Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket
Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket

The timing of getting the JWP Atmos Jacket couldn’t have been better. We recently added a puppy product tester to our crew, Parker, and I have found myself outside during the coolest parts of the day. The JWP Atmos Jacket is light-weight and easy-fitting for a quick throw-on for those walks.

But besides just walking Parker, I had the chance to get the jacket outside on a few hikes.

The jacket itself is lightweight; a men’s medium only weighing 410g.

It’s also incredibly stowable. Mid-way through my hike, I was feeling warm enough to slip it off. The jacket was able to be stuffed down into my backpack.

The JWP Atmos Jacket is made with Jack Wolfskin’s Flex Shield Exosphere material making it wind resistant and water repellent.

Inside, the jacket has lightweight insulation made of recycled synthetic fibers with stretch properties. I’m fairly certain that it’s the stretch properties that allows the jacket to pack so tightly into my backpack, but still retain it’s original shape without the insulation bulking up in one particular spot.

Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket
Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket

The jacket also has a hood, which is a great addition. It provided able protection when I was caught out in the rain, but also kept my ears nice and toasty on a cool morning walk with the puppy.

This jacket is also pretty stylish. It looks great on the trails, but is also a nice jacket to wear around town.

I am 5’11” and 195 lbs and I tested a men’s large.

If you’re on the hunt for a new Fall jacket, I highly recommend the JWP Atmos Jacket.

Wear KAVU Brand On Your Next Adventure

KAVU clothing is designed for fun. Whether that’s at work or in the outdoors. They sell a variety of outdoor wear and amazing bags to encourage you to “spread your good-time attitude.”

KAVU Petos Shirt Jacket
KAVU Petos Shirt Jacket and Scrag Pants

Recently, KAVU sent us a few products to test.

The Scrag Pants

The origin of the Scrag Pant dates back to the late 90’s. This Fall, KAVU took this pant out of the archives and redesigned it.

KAVU Scrag Pant
KAVU Scrag Pant

It’s made with organic cotton and has an elastic stretch waist. The pant also comes with a webbing belt built in, making minor size adjustment a cinch.

The Scrag Pant is designed with a regular fit, which I found to be very comfortable on the trail. The elastic waist band also moves easily creating a comfortable fit.

For our field test, I took them on a hike up a local mountain. There were spots that I had to scramble up and I never felt that the pants were in the way of my movement.

They also look great too. I have found myself wearing them around town or at work and they feel chill, more than anything else.

The Petos Shirt Jacket

Also new for Fall is the Petos Shirt Jacket, or Shacket.

KAVU Petos Shirt Jacket
KAVU Petos Shirt Jacket

It’s made from 100% cotton corduroy creating a really soft and fun look.

I’ve worn this over another t-shirt or sweatshirt and it is really comfortable. Compared to other “shackets,” the Petos is less bulky and sits on my frame in a more tapered way. In other words, I don’t feel like I look fat in it.

On colder days, the collar snaps up to protect your neck from the cold.

KAVU Petos Shirt Jacket
KAVU Petos Shirt Jacket

The shirt also includes two chest flap pockets and hand pockets on the side. The material in the hand pockets are incredibly soft and warm.

I was hiking early in the morning with the Petos Shirt Jacket and had forgotten my gloves and the hand pockets kept my fingers suitably warm.

Bottom Line

I had a blast testing out these products from KAVU. Their brand is about fun and these were fun products to wear.

But they have a lot more to choose from besides these two products, including a full line of men’s and women’s clothing, bags, and accessories.

Go Rogue With New Cycling Pants from Showers Pass

This Fall, Showers Pass launched a new line of pants for cycling: The Rogue Pant. They sent our team at Huck Adventures a pair to take on the trails.

Showers Pass Rogue Pant
Showers Pass Rogue Pant

First, these pants aren’t just for MTB. They work great on the bike, especially for extended periods. But I took them recently on an all-day hike in the mountains and they outperformed any other pair of pants in my gear closet.

The Rogue Pant is water-resistant and have a slim feel all the way down the legs. It’s made of a breathable nylon spandex that has a four-way stretch—very similar to their Gravel Short—and a DWR coating.

Inside the pants there are silicon grippers to keep the waist in place. There is also an adjustable velcro waistband for easy sizing.

The pockets are mesh for additional breathability and a clasp on the back pocket for added security.

Showers Pass Rogue Pant
Showers Pass Rogue Pant

On my mountain hike, I found these pants to be extremely comfortable. The slim fit wasn’t a problem. The four-way stretch kept things moving easily and provided ample coverage for my legs. As I was scrambling over rocks I didn’t have any issues with the waist exposing my butt crack. And likewise when I was coming down, losing my balance, and sliding on rocks, I found that the material held up well.

For biking, these are great pants for the trail, but also a great commuter pant. As long as you don’t have mud splattered up the backside, this is a great pant to wear on the bike and in the office.

With the Rogue, I wear a size 36-inch waist. With other brands, I am a 34-inch, so these fit a bit small.

Saving the Earth with Hemp: Hemp Black Activewear

It’s no secret, I’m a big fan of CBD.

One of the larger benefits of CBD is how good the hemp plant is for the environment. Hemp’s rapid growth makes it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, more efficient than agro- forestry.

But with the rapid growth of the CBD industry, a by-product of the large consumption of hemp oil is the biomass waste it produces.

Ananda Hemp is solving that issue with the creation of their activewear line, Hemp Black. They sent me some products to try out.

Hemp as a Fabric

Using Hemp as a fabric isn’t new. Leading brands have been using it for years, but it’s only been recently that Hemp has gained popularity over traditional cotton and polyester.

What makes Hemp Black different is that along with the hemp-blended fabrics, their activewear is infused with antimicrobial copper embedded fibers and odor eliminating hemp infused fibers with full-spectrum hemp extract to reduce odor.

Less odor = less stink = less washing. This makes Hemp Black one of the most sustainably-focused activewear companies in the world.

It’s also worth noting that a majority of hemp clothing is made overseas, whereas Hemp Black is made in the U.S.

Additionally, no chemical treatment or finishes were applied to the outer shell or main fabrications.

Fairmont Full Zip Jacket

Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket
Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket

The Fairmont Full Zip Jacket has a lot of really cool features.

The copper and hemp blend is throughout the interior of the jacket.

It has a lined hood that stayed fresh and clean during longer, sweat-filled runs.

There are two lined pockets for storage. One includes a cellphone pocket that is large enough for my iPhone 12 Pro. Now, the crazy thing about their copper and hemp blend, is that it will sanitize your phone. It reduces a broad spectrum of viruses, bacteria, and fungi on surfaces it comes in contact with and keep items clean.

Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket Glove Liner
Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket Glove Liner

The sleeves also extend to cover my hands, with thumb-holes. The intention of this was to allow for safer, cleaner contact when coming into contact with things, like doors, touching buttons, etc. But I have these hand covers to be great while out for early morning cooler runs to keep my fingers comfortable.

All this makes the Fairmont Full Zip Jacket a super sleek and comfortable jacket.

I’ve taken it out on several runs and impressed by how it doesn’t stink.

It’s also really light and breathable. Even as my body heated up, I never felt like I was overheating.

Sunn Pant

Hemp Black Sunn Pants
Hemp Black Sunn Pants

Combined with the Jacket, I also was sent a pair of the Sunn Pant to try out.

One of my pet peeves with any pant or short I wear during outdoor activities is making sure they stay in place. The Sunn Pant’s waistband is designed to do just that. During heavy-movement (running, cycling), they stayed in place without riding up or down.

The Sunn Pant is lined with the same copper and hemp blend in strategic areas to keep things fresh. The pocket includes a cell phone holder that also has the same antimicrobial elements.

Hemp Black Sunn Pants
Hemp Black Sunn Pants

I also found that these pants are great anytime pants. They are much cooler and sleeker than your typical sweatpants and I have worn them on a few work Zoom calls.

With running, they pair really well with Saxx Kinetic HD underwear. Even under heavy activity, I didn’t experience any chafing with the pants or uncomfortability in the ankles or calfs where the pants taper.

Bottom Line

I’m excited to see how Hemp Black line expands.

Beyond these two products, they have a line of t-shirts, face masks, and bags for men.

They also have a full line of women’s products, including leggings, bras, and tanks.

Pricing ranges from $40-200. While the jackets and pants are on the pricier side, their technology is intended to last the lifecycle of their products. Because the copper and hemp fabric reduces odor, you don’t have to wash it as much and the products will last longer.

Tasc Performance Apparel Review

When I stopped at the Tasc Performance booth at Outdoor Retailer, I knew I had stumbled onto a pretty special and unique brand.

Tasc Performance clothes are made from a bamboo fiber blend, which is great for any type of activity due to its moisture-wicking, anti-odor, and wrinkle-resistant properties.

At Outdoor Retailer, it was immediately noticeable how lightweight and comfortable their clothing was. The bamboo fiber blend made it extremely soft and I knew I had to try them out on the trail.

Field Testing

Tasc sent me a handful of products to review. In this post, we’ll break down two products: the Carrolton Tee and the Recess Short.

The Recess Short

Tasc Performance Recess Short

With the Tasc Performance Recess Short, the softness of the bamboo fiber blend was immediately apparent. It might TMI, but I have been have some chafing issues in the nether region. During the field test I took them out on a mountain hike and several runs and I never experienced any redness or soreness down there. I also through in a handful of home workouts and yoga sessions.

When comparing them to my other go-to running shorts, they also weighed in 2 grams lighter.

The shorts have several pockets for storage. I was able to easily hold a few gels and a flexible water bottle in the side pockets, and my keys in a zippered side pocket. On the bamboo liner, it has a cell phone pocket that easily held my iPhone 12 Pro.

The pockets kept things secure enough so that there wasn’t too much bouncing, but ideally on longer runs, I would store a majority of those things in my running pack.

Not getting chafed by itself made these shorts a winner. But I’ve also just lounged around the house in them. The liner isn’t too tight or constrictive. It kept everything in it’s place while giving me room to stretch out.

I also found that they are suitable to nearly every workout activity I could think of. While doing jump squats or downward-facing dog, I never felt that the shorts were slipping in a way that would expose my butt crack. But I also didn’t find myself constantly adjusting the liner.

The Carrolton Tee

Tasc Performance Carrolton Tee

To say that the Tasc Performance Carrolton Tee is as smooth and as soft as butter may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I wish all my shirts were this soft.

While on my mountain hike, I had my go-to running back slung over it, and what I noticed was that I really liked the collar.

The collar sits a bit higher than my other running shirts. And what’s great about it is that I didn’t experience the normal chaffing I would get around my neck from my running pack. It’s the little things that make a difference.

The bamboo fiber also lays a bit different than a normal running shirt. It is heavier and because of that, I didn’t experience the typical riding-up I normally would have during yoga or HITT workouts.

The Bottom Line

Truth be told: I’m a big fan of Tasc Performance.

Not only were they really comfortable during my activities, but I put them through the ringer to test out the other bamboo proprieties: moisture-wicking and anti-odor.

I spent around 15 hours of heavy activity in them and they passed the smell test. I mean, it was a little funky towards the end, but it didn’t have the normal funk of my workout and running clothes.

If you’re looking to upgrade your running apparel or needing something that you just want to be comfortable in, look no further than Tasc Performance.

The Best Campsite Coffee You’ll Ever Have

I haven’t had a good cup of coffee during a camping trip until I used the BaseCamp Travel Press from BruTrek.

BaseCamp Travel Press
BaseCamp Travel Press

BruTrek sent me their 48 oz. french press to try out along with some double-wall insulated coffee cups.

When it comes to coffee, I have tried several french presses, but I would always end up with coffee that was over extracted and acidic or a cup with grounds in it.

What makes the BaseCamp Travel Press unique is it’s construction of the press itself.

BaseCamp Travel Press
BaseCamp Travel Press

The press is built with their Bru-Stop™ technology. When fully pressed down, the plate flexes up while pressing and then lays back down in a flat position, creating a barrier between the grounds and brewed coffee.

This is what makes the BaseCamp Travel Press a worthy member of my camping “go box.”

I took it with me to a Cub Scout camp as an alternative to the typical, light-fare, Folgers. As the other parents were waking up, I was able to heat up water, ground my coffee beans, and start the extraction process.

After four minutes, I pressed down on the press and poured my first cup of coffee.

The pour itself was beautiful. No sediment. Just pure, black, delicious coffee.

The other parents enjoyed it as well and were disappointed when I ran out and they had to resort back to Folgers.

Aside from the press, which is a key feature, the BaseCamp Travel Press also has a spill proof pour spout that will snap into a locked position to avoid accidents. The container itself is double-wall vacuum sealed, so the coffee stayed hot for over an hour.

If you’re looking for a solution for your morning campsite coffee, look no further than the BaseCamp Travel Press.

Phunksun PHurther Face Coverings Review

One of my biggest challenges with face masks is being able to wear sunglasses and not have them fog. With Boulder County reinstating mandatory face masks due to COVID-19, I knew I needed a solution.

Luckily Phunksun was debuting a new face mask, the PHurther Ergo Face Coverings, and sent me some samples to try out.

PHurther Face Coverings
PHurther Face Coverings

The PHurther Ergo Face Covering is one of the more comfortable face masks I’ve used. The material is light and breathable and it works really well with eye covering.

PHurther Face Coverings
PHurther Face Coverings

The top of the mask has a built in nose-bridge that you can shape around your nose for a tighter fit. That way your eyewear doesn’t fog.

I’m as excited as the next guy for COVID protocols to be over, but in the meantime I am happy to have the PHurther Ergo Face Covering as an option. And one that won’t cause my sunglasses to fog up.